Still surprised by the winter-like chill of these Baton Rouge mornings. Outside now on the patio but suitably layered in enough cotton and denim to buffer the cold. Helps too to have a steaming cup of Community coffee and a warmed up leftover sweet potato hushpuppy from last night’s dinner. The light is good here beside the small pond dancing with bright orange carp. It filters through the leaves and falls to the brick in restless patches that jitter in concert with the breeze nudged leaves overhead.
Light, breeze and chill aside, this hour on the patio is bound up in Florida responsibilities and the necessity of making a telephone contribution to HOA affairs, attending by phone. In all truth, if one has to attend a meeting, a sun-glazed patio sounds a better spot than a clubhouse meeting room. But the fact that I’m on holiday and eager to spend the time with friends usually absent makes sitting still with cellphone earplugs tedious and antsy.
The birds have returned. Dee was elbow deep in her seed mixing pots earlier and the garden feeders have been filled. Redbirds are still holding their distance, waiting perhaps for the first rush of hungry birds to thin out. A mockingbird overhead is now singing out the news of fresh seed.
LSU football is on the agenda today, the long well-worn rivalry between our hometown Tigers and the boys from Ole Miss University in Oxford, Mississippi. The pre and post game traditions of Saturday football are elaborate in this part of the south, and we have something of a party planned here at 1051, with friends coming over to watch the big gridiron clash between the Tigers and Rebel Bears. I have for years been removed from these celebrations and now find that somehow the excitement is coming back with the anticipation.
‘In a Jamboree game at Memorial Stadium we run the reverse five times and then Bill fakes the handoff and half the other team comes charging through the line to smear me for a loss; just before they do I show empty hands and we all turn and watch as Bill weaves his way downfield. I run for a long touchdown but it is called back and the shortened game ends scoreless. The rest of the games we win, many of the players going on to play junior high and high school ball. Although we go out for practice in the seventh grade a few times, Bill and I discover DRAMA, realizing football practice takes places at the same time as rehearsals, girls without pom-poms more plentiful around the stage, recognition coming without battering heads and bruising bodies.’ — excerpt from Swimming Underwater